Contending with the ‘hard R’ of racism on BART

We’ve known for 11 years (more if you count our pre-Muni Diaries days) that damn near anything can happen on public transit. Today’s story, told by Sureni Weerasekera, contrasts the magic of good juju on BART with a distinctly Bay Area brand of racism and othering.

Sureni was born in Sri Lanka, raised in San Diego, and is currently based in SF doing stand-up comedy, writing, and acting. She’s a contributing writer and actor for “Life of Trying” and runs two of Berkeley’s top comedy shows, “Pizza Party” and “Subhumans.” Follow her on Instagram @sureni, and check out her upcoming shows at: https://surenicomedy.com/.

Listen here:

Sureni told this story to our live audience at Muni Diaries Live on April 6—our first in our new home, Rickshaw Stop. Stay tuned for news about our next show in November!

Pic by Right Angle Images

Muni Diaries Live: We do it for the surprise tears

Our pre-show rehearsal is a necessary part of the live storytelling game—but it’s also a nice reminder of why we’re still collecting your stories about San Francisco commute life and, since 2017, of life all over this city we call home. We call the phenomenon surprise tears, where something universally true or poignant hits us all and then the eyes get stingy and we’re rooting around in our purse for tissue.

You’re in for a treat come Saturday. Get tickets today:

Muni Diaries Live (<- tix on Eventbrite)
Sat., April 6
Doors: 5:30 pm
Show: 6:30-8:30 pm

The Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell St (between Van Ness and Franklin)

Also! Today, April 3, is our 11th birthday: Thanks for coming along on the ride, however unpredictable and kooky it may have been, for all these years. We’d love to celebrate with you in our new home.

Pic by Right Angle Images

What happens when you skip school and take Muni as your escape vehicle

When you’re a kid skipping school, your parents are probably the last people that you’d want to run into. For one San Francisco kid, luck was not on her side. Storyteller Meaghan Mitchell is a native San Franciscan and news editor at Hoodline, which you can imagine gives her tons of local cred. In this week’s podcast episode, Meaghan shares a story of one really hard day at school and how it brought her to a familiar face on Muni.

Listen to her story:

As an essential part of living here, Muni is so often the backdrop of childhood memories for native San Franciscans, like this story from Yayne Abeba, whose mother often gave her and her siblings money to ride Muni as a way to get them out of the house.

If you liked the stories you’ve heard on our podcast, come see us live on March 7 at the Betabrand Podcast Theater! We will be bringing the podcasts live to you for the first time with a studio audience! Tickets are only $5 and on sale now.

An anonymous letter about the no good very bad year (and A+ Muni story)

You might remember storyteller Nuala Sawyer, News Editor at SF Weekly and haver of what most of us would agree was a pretty shit year back in 2013. She told the story on stage at Muni Diaries Live in November 2018, and it gave us not-so-surprise tears again when we added it to our podcast lineup recently.

The podcast episode ended up having an impact on an anonymous podcast listener, too. That person sent Nuala this handwritten letter to SF Weekly and, just when you think you’re out of Muni-related surprise tears…

“Thank you for telling it. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for placing yourself in a vulnerable position with the man and with the audience of Muni Diaries. As you impressively seem to know, honesty and vulnerability change [sic] people—us as well as those around us,” the listener wrote. We couldn’t agree more, Listener. Thanks, Nuala, for sharing—in more ways than one.

Listen to Nuala’s podcast episode here.

Top photo by Right Angle Images; letter image courtesy Nuala Sawyer

What was your worst year in San Francisco?

Storyteller Nuala Sawyer was having a terrible year in San Francisco: an accident that broke her arm, being laid off from her job, and a terrible breakup on top of it all. It was one of those times in your life when you think things couldn’t get any worse. Then, a man on Muni shared a vulnerable moment with her that changed her perspective.

Nuala is the News Editor at SF Weekly. She writes about a little bit of everything: City Hall, the courts, homelessness, immigration, housing, crime and of course, transportation.

Listen to Nuala’s story:

You can follow Nuala on Twitter at @TheBestNuala, or hear her on Rollover Easy Thursday mornings at bff.fm.

If you have a story to share, whether it happened on or off the bus, we want to know! Submit your own diary entry to the Muni Diaries podcast by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

Senait Hailemariam on being 21 and feeling feels on the K/T Muni

 

I’ve been happy, sad, scared, and angry on the bus—much to my dismay, it didn’t always stay tucked behind sunglasses, and I wasn’t always able to pretend I was just scratching my eye.

Today’s podcast episode features Senait (pronounced suh-NITE, like “tonight”) Hailemariam’s experience Emoting on Muni while on the phone to her number-one confidante: her mom. This is for anyone who has ever felt the feels during their commute—especially if you were young and real life was closing in fast. And for all the moms (Happy almost Mother’s Day!) lending a much-needed ear and support.

Listen on iTunes, Google Play, or by clicking below. You can also download the episode for later listening.

Photo by Right Angle Images

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